This article contains mild spoilers for The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes.

The Big Picture

  • Jennifer Lawrence’s performance in The Hunger Games franchise solidified her status as one of Hollywood’s most sought-after performers.
  • Director Francis Lawrence highlights three standout actors in the upcoming prequel film, including Irene Böhm, Sofia Sanchez, and Dimitri Abold.
  • The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes features a stacked cast, including Rachel Zegler, Peter Dinklage, Viola Davis, and more.

It’s been eight years since Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen brought down the Capitol in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 and now audiences are preparing to step back into the arena for the prequel film, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes. While Lawrence was already chipping away at becoming a household name, thanks to her Academy Award-nominated performance in Winter’s Bone, the franchise solidified her status as one of Hollywood’s most sought-after performers. The call sheet also boasted the likes of Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, and Elizabeth Banks and introduced the world to up-and-coming talents such as Jack Quaid (The Boys), Amandla Stenberg (Bodies Bodies Bodies), and Isabelle Fuhrman (the Orphan franchise). During an interview with Collider’s Perri Nemiroff, the film’s director, Francis Lawrence told prospective audiences which stars to keep an eye out for in the upcoming film.

After Nemiroff asked Lawrence to choose one tribute from the 10th Hunger Games to shine the spotlight on during his interview, the director responded, “Jeez, only one?” to which Nemiroff gave him free rein to brag about as many as he wanted. “I’ll give you two. I’ll give you three, actually,” Lawrence said, upping the ante. “So one is Irene [Böhm] and she plays Lamina. She blows me away. I basically watched her grow up because I’m a fan of Babylon Berlin, and she plays the younger sister to the lead actress in that and grew up sort of making the series.” Already knowing that he wanted to work with Böhm, it sounds like the young star was a shoo-in for The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, but there’s just one catch as she doesn’t speak throughout the film. “[She] came to us and doesn’t say a word in our movie,” Lawrence reveals, adding that the actress “has the most amazing face, is so talented, and was so game, especially running around up on top of that crossbeam. She’s great.”

Along with Böhm, Lawrence says that another standout among the tributes was Sofia Sanchez. “[She’s] the young girl who lasts to the end of the Games who has Down Syndrome, and she’s just an amazing actress and an amazing kid,” he said of the performer, adding, “Everybody fell in love with her.” Elsewhere in the arena the director named his last “must-watch” performance which is given by Dimitri Abold. “[Abold], who plays Reaper, is also a phenomenal actor,” the filmmaker said. “He would improvise a lot, and I think we just got a lot of great emotion and strength and kind of nobility from him… So, I think those three are big standouts for me.”

Who Else is in ‘The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes’?

Mixing a fair share of well-known stars in with the up-and-comers, The Hunger Games prequel film features a stacked cast that includes Rachel Zegler (West Side Story), Tom Blyth (Benediction), Hunter Schafer (Euphoria), Jason Schwartzman (The Darjeeling Limited), Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), Viola Davis (How to Get Away with Murder), Josh Andrés Rivera (West Side Story), and more. The perfect man for the job of telling how the brutal games came to be, Lawrence was the helmer behind both parts of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. He’s also known for his vision on projects including I Am Legend and Constantine, the latter of which served as his directorial debut.

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes arrives in theaters on November 17. Check out advanced tickets via the link below.

Pre-Order AMC Tickets

Watch Nemiroff’s full conversation with Lawrence below.

The Hunger Games The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes Film Poster

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

64 years before Katniss Everdeen volunteered as tribute, and decades before Coriolanus Snow became the tyrannical President of Panem. The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes follows a young Coriolanus (Tom Blyth) who is the last hope for his failing lineage, the once-proud Snow family that has fallen from grace in a post-war Capitol. With his livelihood threatened, Snow is reluctantly assigned to mentor Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler), a tribute from the impoverished District 12. But after Lucy Gray’s charm captivates the audience of Panem, Snow sees an opportunity to shift their fates. With everything he has worked for hanging in the balance, Snow unites with Lucy Gray to turn the odds in their favor. Battling his instincts for both good and evil, Snow sets out on a race against time to survive and reveal if he will ultimately become a songbird or a snake.

Release Date
November 17, 2023

Francis Lawrence

Rachel Zegler, Hunter Schafer, Viola Davis, Tom Blyth, Peter Dinklage, Jason Schwartzman, Burn Gorman, Fionnula Flanagan


165 minutes

Sci-Fi, Drama, Thriller

Michael Lesslie, Michael Arndt, Suzanne Collins

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